I have a secret. It’s an interesting secret; not the usual kind that you don’t want anyone to know. I want to share it. I need to share it. In fact, saying it over and over again empowers me, which in turn makes me want to keep telling others. So what is my secret? I’ve learned the secret…to being grateful.
You may be thinking, “big deal, that’s not a secret.” Just be thankful for what you have. But being grateful extends beyond just having a thankful heart; it is an attitude of thankfulness. It’s a perpetual state of being. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (NKJV).
Thinking this way is not automatic. It’s a conscious decision. When I realized I was feeling down about what I wasn’t accomplishing and didn’t yet have, I knew it was time for a change. I am an incredibly blessed person, and as the old folks used to say, if you are drawing breath and the blood is running warm in your veins, so are you. Here’s a look at how you can move from a state of discontent, to a state of being grateful.
- Check your focus. It’s hard to be grateful when you’re focused on lack of finances, not having things you want, maybe not even being where you planned to be in life – career, married, children, status. These are real things that we have to contend with, but the point is that they shouldn’t be your focus. None of us have reached the pinnacle of where we’d like to be. We are all continually striving to be more, do more and achieve more. So look at where you are as a part of the process, not your focus.
- Be proud of how far you’ve come. When I thought of myself being married, with children, I also saw incredible success in the TV and Film industry as a part of the package. I’ve had some moderate success, and for that I am thankful. However, it’s not anywhere near what I thought it would be. Sure I could beat myself up – I could have done this, done that, tried harder, worked smarter. There are a lot of coulda, shoulda and woulda’s – more than enough to go around. Instead, I’ve opted to be proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved. You should too. Stop knocking yourself!
- Be thankful for what you have. Yes, you hear people say it all the time. And it’s true. You are blessed with the gift of sight if you are able to read this. You are blessed with a right mind to think and process, if you can take this in. Health, family, friends, laughter, love, wisdom – all things we can take for granted; all things for which we should be exceedingly grateful. I love this quote I read by Oprah Winfrey, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Well put, Ms. Winfrey. Well put.
And as the Christmas season approaches, and you may wish you could buy more and spend, spend, spend, make a decision to turn your focus to what truly matters. Don’t go into 2015 with an attitude of negativity. Be grateful.